FutureGov publisher slashes events arm

FutureGovSingapore media company Alphabet Media, the publisher of public sector technology brand FutureGov, has restructured to focus more on its online editorial offering, with around 12 staff to leave the company’s events team.

The publisher, which has an office in Australia as well as Singapore, has left editorial staff that work on online brand in place, as well as some sales staff, but all events personnel have been retrenched.

Staff were informed of the restructure on Tuesday, although some are still on holiday.

Company founder James Smith told Mumbrella today: “We’ve been doing events since 2004, and will continue to bring our readers together face-to-face. But the delivery of these future events will no longer be by a standalone events team.”

He added: “Digital publishing offers readers and advertisers much more options. We recently switched to a subscription model, and this is where the greatest growth opportunities for the business are.”

The news emerges a month after Smith took to social media to announce the dismissal of two of his most senior staff, Ellen Quek and Mohit Sagar, who were running the company’s events arm.

In a LinkedIn post in December, Smith gave his reasons for why he fired Quek and Sagar, blaming them both for the poor performance of the company’s events, the biggest of which is the annual FutureGov Summit.



Smith said last month he would take direct control of Alphabet’s events arm following the duo’s exit, after a period spent overseeing FutureGov’s digital brand.

None of the leavers have been paid outstanding salary, but have been told they will be reimbursed by 14 January, according to sources. Alphabet lost a court case to a former sales staffer over unpaid salary in 2013.

Alphabet Media started out in 2003, with a website and magazine then known as Public Sector Technology & Management. The title was later rebranded to FutureGov, the print version of which was closed in 2012.

In recent years, the company has shifted focus to its events products following the arrival of Sagar from conferences giant Worldwide Business Research in 2009. Sagar led the drive to launch FutureGov events brands all over Asia, while Quek, who was appointed GM eight months ago, has long been the company’s chief revenue earner.

Smith wrote on LinkedIn that FutureGov’s events this year “simply weren’t good enough”, that the events team had been suffering from high staff turnover, and that his firm had become “a company with relationships but no content.”

He said: “I have learned that many of my colleagues in the events team were on the verge of resignation – which is why I made the decision to step in.”

  • Disclaimer: The author of this story was an employee of Alphabet Media from February 2009 – December 2010.

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